The Diaries of Ralph Leland Goodrich, 1859-1867
saloon. Rainy. No business at all. No news today. Some more troops going off.
saloon. Business very dull. Nothing at all. I
do not know what to do.
saloon. Business dull again today. We were shut up today about half past seven
o’clock and also were two others…
saloon. Business pretty good. There all the time all day. Lange is a fool.
At saloon. Business pretty good. About eleven o’clock, detective shut us up.
Lange mad at me. I think he is going to take some Jew tailor into business with
him. Wrote letter to [my cousin] Lucy Stratton today. Wiedemann here in evening.
saloon. Got exempted today from militia. Nothing new.
saloon. Nothing new.
saloon. Nothing new.
saloon. Lange drunk & treating [customers to free drinks].
saloon. Business dull. Mary seems to be worse today.
saloon. Lange says he will not have anything to do with the Jew. They have
split. Not much business.
Sunday. At saloon… Saw Flower. Took a walk with him way down below Genges’. Shaved off my whiskers & mustache today.
quite bad off. Oh God, grant she may recover if it be thy will. Oh God, prosper
me also. Let me not live continuously in poverty like this that I am in. Oh
prosper me. I am in debt & I do not know when I can get any money. I have
tried to borrow & I am afraid that I have borrowed more than I can ever
February 13, 1865
At saloon. Business dull. No letters yet.
February 14, 1865
At saloon. No business.
February 15, 1865
At saloon. Nothing new. Business dull.
February 16, 1865
At saloon. Got drunk. Business dull.
February 17, 1865
At saloon. Boozy a little. Mary bad off.
February 18, 1865
At saloon. Nothing new. Business dull. Mary sick & failing.
February 19, 1865
Sunday. Did not stay at saloon. Afternoon, up to Mrs. Botsford. She said that she got a letter every two weeks from [my cousin] Lucy Stratton. She is quite a pleasant young lady.
February 20, 1865
At saloon. Got drunk. In evening, Battery boys there. Came up. Julian Bridges drunk went alone with his Josephine drunken. He raised hell at house....
February 21, 1865
At saloon. Business dull. Rainy. Nothing new.
February 22, 1865
February 23, 1865
At saloon. Got drunk. Had a fight with [my partner] Lange. Yesterday, got letter from home with draft for one hundred dollars.  Dr. Dodge cashed it.
February 24, 1865
At saloon. Got drunk. So did Lange. I slept in kitchen last night.
February 25, 1865
At saloon. Cold. Business dull. Wrote letter home. 
February 26, 1865
February 27, 1865
February 28, 1865
At saloon. Schriefer told me that Lange wants to kick me out of the business.
Goodrich received the following letter from
his sister Sarah on February 23, 1865:
7, 1865 Owego [New York]
Brother Ralph. I have but a few minutes to spare & can write but a few
lines. Stephen sends you a check of one hundred dollars on the Tioga bank in
a letter which we will mail this afternoon with this. They told him that was
the safest way to send it. I hope you will get it all right. I hope your
circumstances will improve in the spring. It seems to me that you could do
better here at the North, and your health better. I believe you have been
worse than you let us know. If those people that you lent to will not pay,
can’t they be turned out? Do you have the rheumatism now? What has made
your hair come out? Write us more particulars about yourself. Does Lucy
Stratton’s friend live there in Little Rock?
[Augusta’s son] John goes to school [here in Owego] and makes great improvement in
reading. The teacher – a Mr. Holdridge from Spencer – is going to have
an exebition at the close of the school. John speaks the piece, “You _____
expect one of my age.” [His
little brother] Willie has learned nearly the whole of it & says it is
very funny indeed. Willie has been sick nearly all winter, but is better so
that he walks around now. [Stephen’s
horse] Prince is sick or lame, so that Steve cannot use him. I hope you can
do better than to go farther south in the spring. Write as soon as you
receive this for we shall be anxious to hear. All send love. Write as often
as you can. Ever your affectionate sister, -- Sarah [Goodrich]
 On February 25, 1865, Goodrich penned the following letter home:
February 1865Little Rock, Arkansas
dear mother & all. I
received the letter from Sarah saying that Steve would send a check by the
same mail several days before I received the latter. I am very much obliged
for it but I don’t know when I will be able to repay it. Sarah asks me
some questions which I have never thought proper to write before. I have
been very sick, but with nothing worse than chills & fever. I am over
with that now I think, but I am weak. The doctor tells me I have the heart
disease. I have had a bad cold & cough for several months and I am glad
I have given up school teaching. But you need not be alarmed about me now. I
believe I am getting sound & well again. The falling out of my hair was
only the result of fever. I had it cut short off to my head & shaved my
face clean, & now I look just like a baby. You said you would write a
receipt for my hair. I wish you would in your next.
Botsford, Lucy Stratton’s friend several times and I find her a very
agreeable and intelligent young lady. She told me that her hair had begun to
fall out since she came here. Her husband has been in Little Rock
nearly a year & he has got nearly bald. There is no bank here and I do
not know what to do with the Draft unless I sell it at a discount to some
Commission merchant who does business in New York City. I was trying yesterday to see what I could do with it. If I cannot dispose
of it, I should be obliged to send it back to you. The
have no clothes. The pants & coat you sent me before the war from Platt
I still wear as a Sunday suit, but rather thread bare. If we could have kept
on last summer doing the same business that we did, I would have two or
three thousand dollars by this time. Some men have made fortunes here since
the army came and others have lost their all. If the army is paid off soon,
or before it leaves this post, we would do good business. But as it is, we
do not pay expenses & are running in debt every day. There is a good
deal owing to us & when the soldiers get money, we will then have some.
I eat but two meals a day & sometimes but one. [Remainder of letter